Keegan Lawrence gave his all for the Bowmen football, basketball and baseball squads

by: DAN BROOD - HAVING A BALL -- Keegan Lawrence had a big senior year for the Bowmen football, basketball and baseball teams.SHERWOOD — For Keegan Lawrence, it’s all about the team.

But it’s also about speed.

And it’s about power.

It’s about touchdowns. It’s about stifling defense.

It’s about victories and friendships.

It’s about family. It’s about caring, sacrifice and celebrations.

But, once again, it’s mainly all about the team.

Not just one team.

For Lawrence, who graduated from Sherwood High School in June, it’s about the Bowmen football team, the basketball team and the baseball team.

That especially seemed to be the case this past school year, when, as a senior, Lawrence stepped up in a big way for all three of those squads.

He got to experience a lot of victories with those teams, but, it was more than just about all of those wins that made things special.

“I got to play a lot of games with a lot of close friends,” Lawrence said last week as he sat near the Sherwood High School football field, where he scored a many, many touchdowns last fall. “It was a cool experience and a lot of fun. I always wanted to play as many sports as I could.”

Lawrence didn’t just play three sports at Sherwood High School, he played them well — very well.

“He understands teams sports,” Sherwood boys basketball coach Tony Merrill said. “And he’s such a competitor.”

“He’s a kid who will give you all he has when he’s in season,” Sherwood baseball coach Jon Strohmaier said. “He did awesome in all three sports.”

It would be hard to argue with that.

During football season, Lawrence was a big-play, touchdown-scoring machine for the Bowmen team that reached the Class 5A state championship game. During the basketball season he was a lockdown defender for the Sherwood team that placed fourth at the Class 5A state tournament. During baseball season, Lawrence was a speed demon on the base paths and in the outfield for the Sherwood squad that reached the semifinal round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

Lawrence also picked up many honors during his season season, earning all-Northwest Oregon Conference accolades in all three sports while also being named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year for the state of Oregon.

Now, Lawrence has yet another honor, as he has been selected as The Times’ Athlete of the Year from Sherwood High School. The honor goes to the top senior-class athlete, as seen by The Times, at the school for the 2013-2014 school year.

“This year was special,” Lawrence said. “It went really well. With our class, we knew we could do some good things. But, at the same time, more important were the relationships, just the type of team bonding we had. I loved it.

“That’s the special thing about Sherwood. We all care about each other. We’re all part of the Bowmen family.”

by: DAN BROOD - TO THE END ZONE -- Keegan Lawrence scored 39 total touchdowns as a Bowmen senior.Gridiron glory

Keegan Lawrence grew up around Sherwood football.

His father, Greg Lawrence, has been the Bowmen’s longtime head coach. As a little kid, he was a Bowmen water boy and then a ball boy on the sidelines. As he entered high school, he got to watch his older brother, Jake, shine as a receiver for the Bowmen.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Keegan Lawrence made his senior season a memorable one.

“This year was special,” he said. “This was something I’ve looked forward to since third grade.”

And Lawrence sure seemed to make the most of his senior-year opportunity.

As a Bowmen senior, the 6-foot, 190-pound speedster rushed for 2,032 yards on 118 carries (a 17.2 yards-per-carry average) with 31 touchdowns. He also had 10 pass receptions for 354 yards and seven more TDs.

But Lawrence is quick to point out that those impressive numbers were the result of a total team effort.

“I was very fortunate,” he said. “We had an amazing offensive line. They did it all, and they were all selfless. Our receivers and backs were also great blockers. They were like another offensive line. When I got the ball, I’d look up and there would always be an open lane. That’s a great feeling.”

“For a running back to get 2,000 yards with just over 100 carries is pretty amazing,” Greg Lawrence said. “In high school, he put the work in and got better and better. But he’s always humble and giving credit to others. It’s a team thing.”

With Lawrence helping lead the way, Sherwood put together a magical season, as the squad won its first 12 games of the season in dominating fashion, putting the Bowmen in the Class 5A state championship game for the fourth straight year.

But, in that title contest, Sherwood was edged 21-20 in overtime by West Albany.

However, the Bowmen were gracious in their only setback of the season.

“That’s our character,” Lawrence said. “They deserved it, and we didn’t have our best game. No excuses. I think that brought us together even more as a team. We all hung out the next day. It was a cool experience, and I was proud of what we did.”

Playing football for his father also turned out to be special.

“It wasn’t much different. I was used to it and, on the field, I called him Coach Law,” Keegan Lawrence said. “But, at the same time, it was a cool experience to go through my senior football season with a family member.”

“Coaching Keegan was tremendous,” Greg Lawrence said. “On the field, I’m the coach, and I think both Keegan and Jake handled that really well. Not often do you get a chance to win a state championship with your son, and I did it with both of them. It’s been special.”by: DAN BROOD - FOR THREE -- Keegan Lawrence scores on a three-pointer during the Bowmen's tourney game with Wilsonville.

Greg and Keegan Lawrence shared a special, and somewhat comical, moment during the 2012 Class 5A state championship game, where the Bowmen scored a 46-20 win over Marist. After Keegan scored on a 27-yard run in the second quarter of the contest, father and son tired a spontaneous jumping chest bump. Keegan seemed to get the best of things, as Greg Lawrence was sent sprawling to the rain-soaked turf at Hillsboro Stadium following the mid-air collision.

This year, after Keegan scored a touchdown in the state title contest, father and son did a fake-out chest bump.

“We had a lot of fun,” Keegan Lawrence said. “Those were some special memories.”

Dynamic defender

While scoring touchdowns was the fun factor for Lawrence during football season, stopping others from scoring was goal during basketball season.

“To me, that’s fun,” he said. “There’s just something about it.”

And Lawrence thrived in his role as the defensive stopper for the Bowmen boys basketball squad.

“He was great on the defensive end,” Merrill said. “He was our top perimeter defender. We put him on the other team’s best scorer, and he always held them down below their average.”

Lawrence helped the Bowmen win their first league championship since 2006 and gain a berth to the Class 5A state tournament.

Sherwood finished the state tournament by scoring a 50-43 win over rival Wilsonville in the tourney fourth-place game.

In that contest, Lawrence sank a pair of early three-point baskets to help the Bowmen take control of the contest.

“That felt good,” Lawrence said. “You can tell by the way I reacted that I don’t make them often.”

“That was really neat to see,” Merrill said.

The fourth-place finish was the best ever for a Sherwood boys basketball team.

“It was weird,” Lawrence said. “In youth basketball, we’d win about three games a year. But, this year, we had a lot of experience and we really played well together. I think we were a very selfless team, and we had a lot of fun.”

by: DAN BROOD - HE'S FAST -- Keegan Lawrence steals second base during a Bowmen win at St. Helens.Running the bases

Lawrence’s busy senior year continued, as he went right from basketball to baseball.

“I never got much of a break,” he said. “But I knew this was going to be the last year for me playing competitive basketball and baseball.”

And, on the baseball diamond, the Bowmen put Lawrence’s speed to use — running down fly balls in center field and putting down bunts and stealing bases on offense.

“Speed is something you can’t really teach,” Strohmaier said. “And Keegan is definitely a competitor.”

For the season, Lawrence hit for a .324 average with a team-high 14 stolen bases on the season.

He also ranked second on the team with 22 runs scored while earning second-team all-conference honors, but, again, the stats aren’t the most important thing.

“It was a fun season,” Lawrence said. “And we had a really tight-knit team. That made it really special.”

What also was a special was a 19-game winning streak.

“We came together and took care of business,” Lawrence said.

That streak ended with a 6-3 loss to Sandy in the semifinal round of the state playoffs.

“That’s baseball,” Lawrence said. “They played a good game, and it’s a game of inches.”

by: DAN BROOD - OUTSTANDING IN HIS FIELD -- Sherwood graduate Keegan Lawrence has plenty of special memories from his time at the school.Taming the Cats

Keegan Lawrence gets a smile on his face when he talks about rival Wilsonville.

That’s because, as a senior, he went 7-0 against the Wildcats — one win in football and three victories each during the basketball and baseball season.

“I didn’t realize it until after basketball,” Lawrence said of the possibility of going unbeaten against Wilsonville. “I kind of made it a goal after that. That was pretty cool and definitely exciting. I always hated Wilsonville.”

In Sherwood’s final football game against Wilsonville turned out to be a 61-0 Bowmen victory. Lawrence had a rushing touchdown, two receiving TDs and an interception return for a touchdown. He also had a touchdown pass that was called back due to a penalty.

“It was nice to get the shutout,” he said. “No mercy.”

Family bonds

No matter what sport it was, Keegan Lawrence knew he could count on having a large cheering section in the crowd.

That support squad included his parents, Greg and Kathi Lawrence, as well as a group of grandparents.

“I wouldn’t be anything without my family,” he said. “They’ve given Jake and I so much support. My mom wouldn’t miss a game for the world — she loves basketball.

“My parents, my grandparents and I also count my friends as family. That all really helps.”

He was also inspired by his older brother, who now plays football at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

“When I was a freshman and saw Jake playing three sports, I decided that I wanted to do that, too,” Keegan Lawrence said. “He inspired me to do it all. He was a role model for me.”

by: JAIME VALDEZ - INSPIRATIONAL -- Keegan Lawrence poses with his friend, Angel Consani, after being presented the USA TODAY High School Sports and The National Guard Inspiration Award. Caring kid

One of the honors Keegan Lawrence received during his senior year was the USA Today Sports and Army National Guard Inspiration Award.

Lawrence was one of only 15 student-athletes from around the country to receive the award.

Among the acts that led Lawrence to getting that honor was his helping remodel the special needs classroom at Sherwood High School.

“The great thing about Keegan is that he has a big heart,” Greg Lawrence said of his son. “He cares for others. I’m extremely proud of both of my sons and what they’ve accomplished.”

Heading south

Keegan Lawrence will continue his football career this fall at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

“I’m really excited for it,” he said. “They do things with speed, and they do it fast.”

Lawrence said that the Southern Oregon University team is looking for him to play at running back, or in the slot, for its high-octane, spread offense attack.

“They run about 90 plays a game,” Lawrence said. “They’re looking to win a national title, and, hopefully, I can be a part of that. I need to learn the playbook and be ready to contribute to the team.”

Once again, it’s all about the team.

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